Justin Tipuric will make his 50th Ospreys appearance on Friday night when the region face Munster at the Liberty Stadium in the RaboDirect PRO12 semi-final.
The 22-year old openside will complete his half-century in a little over two and a half years, with all bar two of his regional appearances coming over the last two seasons, an indication of how important the Welsh international has become to the region’s cause.
He made his debut off the bench against Northampton Saints in an LV= Cup tie against Northampton Saints at the Liberty Stadium in November 2009, his first start and first try coming a week later away to Bath in the same competition. At the start of the 2010/11 season he was handed a place in the matchday squad and hasn’t looked back since, notching a further 47 appearances in just two seasons.
In January 2011 he was handed the captaincy for the first time, aged just 21, a role he has carried out on numerous occasions since. To date, he has five tries to his credit.
Speaking about his half century, the modest Trebanos RFC product said:
“Playing for the team you support you’re obviously going to be happy just getting one cap, so to get to 50 is something special for me. I can’t wait now to just get out there, and being a semi-final as well makes it an even bigger occasion and a big night for the Ospreys.
“I’ve been a bit lucky over the last two seasons, I’ve stayed clear of any bad injuries which has allowed me to play so many games. I’m just enjoying playing for my home region and I can’t wait to run out at the Liberty on Friday and get to 50. It’ll be a day to remember for me personally and for my family.
“The aim will be to end the season on 51 appearances, it’ll be nice to get to the final there’s no doubt about it, but we’ve got a tough game against Munster where we will have to be at our very best so at the moment it’s all about 50 games, we’ll worry about the next one when the time comes.”
Ospeys Forwards Coach, Jonathan Humphreys, paid tribute to Tipuric, who returns to the starting line-up on Friday after missing last week’s win in Aironi due to a back spasm, saying:
“Justin Tipuric is an outstanding Osprey. It’s frightening to think that he is still developing as a player, still learning the game, but he has a very bright future ahead of him. He has all the attributes to go on and become a true world class player and is a true professional in everything he does.
“He has had a great season which has seen him recognised by Wales. He is proud to represent his home region and we are delighted that he’s with us. He deserves congratulations on reaching 50, and he is a massive part of what we are trying to do here over and we hope to see him getting many more games in an Ospreys shirt over the coming seasons.”